Power retailer Manila Electric Co. said sales volume climbed 11 percent in April from a year ago on higher demand amid soaring temperature, a top executive said Monday.
The growth in April picked up from just a 2.3-percent increase in sales volume registered in the first quarter.
“April [growth] was 11 percent. It went up because it’s a hot month. For May, I don’t know the indication but the first quarter was slower. We reported about three percent. So that pushes up the cumulative increase to four percent plus,” Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.
Meralco’s consolidated energy sales reached 10,381 gigawatt-hours in the first quarter, up from 10,145 gWh in 2018 which was attributed to the “high base effect” of the volume attained in 2018 and the slightly cooler average temperature throughout the quarter.
Pangilinan earlier said the lower-than-expected sales growth in the first quarter, particularly in the residential and commercial sectors, was attributable to concerns on higher interest rates, the weakening of the Philippine peso against the US dollar and their impact on fuel and commodity prices. The situation was exacerbated by the recent red and yellow alerts caused by the forced outages of several plants.
“The financial results for first quarter 2019 are quite encouraging albeit the first quarter volume, while better than the comparative period, is showing signs of a slowdown. This could be a point of concern, moving forward,” Pangilinan said earlier.
Meralco said that while economic indicators were relatively stable, the overhang from the slightly lower gross domestic product growth in 2018 of 6.2 percent compared with the government’s target range of 6.5 percent to 6.9 percent, the spill-over effect of the fourth-quarter spike in inflation and the weaker peso all contributed to tempered growth in electricity consumption in the first three months.
Meralco senior vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communications Al Panlilio said April sales grew despite the yellow and red alerts experienced by the Luzon grid, driven by high temperature, lower inflation, and lower generation rate.
“April 2019 [sales were] up 10.9 percent vs. April 2018. Residential drove the growth although both commercial and industrial were also higher,” Panlilio said when asked for comment.
Panlilio said Meralco was seeing a sales volume growth of about 4 percent in May.
Meralco’s consolidated net income rose 7 percent in the first quarter to P5.7 billion from P5.312 billion in the same period last year led by the positive contribution of a subsidiary, improvement of retail electricity supply units and slightly higher energy sales.
Consolidated core net income, which excludes one-time, exceptional charges, also increased 14 percent to P5.6 billion from a year earlier.
Meralco’s customer base grew by more than 4 percent to 6.7 million customer accounts, with 285,000 net new accounts since March 2018. The residential customer base, which rose by close to 5 percent, remained at 92 percent of the total customer base.
Consolidated electric revenues, representing 98 percent of total revenues, grew 7 percent in the first quarter to P73.63 billion from P69 billion last year.